Thank you, Councilman Dick Muri!! The Steilacoom Historical School District approved the “surplus to needs” of about twenty acres between Saltar’s Point School and Cormorant Passage. The prime objective of the School Board was to qualify for the Pierce County Conservation Futures program which is a way to maintain land in its natural state. The School District will “sell” the land to Pierce County at appraised value! Pierce County will pay for the property utilizing voter approved funding from the conservation futures program. After the sale, the land will transfer to the Town to be held in perpetuity as open space. This classification allows for limited development of paths and trails and similar low impact uses but does not allow full development of the property. The application was reviewed by a county-wide citizen’s committee and included on the master list of twenty properties eligible for purchase. County Councilman Dick Muri with concurrence of the full Pierce County Council, submitted an amendment to the ranked list and secured a position for full funding of the Saltar’s parcel, along with similar acquisitions in Lakewood and on Anderson Island. I expect completion and sale in the first quarter of next year. Thank you, Councilman Muri, for your good work!!
The School District has also surplused property around Cherrydale School and is beginning the process on the sale of this land- more as the process continues.
The Town experienced a railroad derailment without human injury on October 18th. The derailment was caused by rail car mechanical failure. I want to provide you several of the immediate actions that occurred within existing emergency plans before most residents awoke. The steps taken were: First, BNSF provided a complete accounting of cars contents and the train engineer alerted local and regional public safety agencies. Secondly, as the Town of Steilacoom responded, our Public Safety staff became/served as the Incident Command. Simultaneously, Public Safety/BNSF visually inspected cars by posted codes to identify the status of any hazardous material cars for damage or danger to the public. Third, a Pierce County Emergency Management team arrived and assisted in gathering support agencies. Lastly, within three hours of the derailment, after the primary work was being completed- operational control/recovery was transferred to BNSF on site under the direction of the senior manager for the BNSF NW with State Dept. of Ecology assisting. For many residents, the first hint of the derailment was the sound of TV helicopters overhead and the morning news. The Public Safety and Public Works staffs responded with great skill and professionalism. BNSF crews worked through the day and night to restore the tracks which reopened at restricted speeds within 36 hours. Additional work and clean-up of the spilled grains continue.
As you read this, we are approaching street light installation on Rainier St. The ordering of the lights was not handled in a timely manner and satisfactorily by the contractor. You may have also observed near Starling/Puyallup St. new sidewalk being torn out and replaced. An engineering/design math error for the radius had to be corrected per design manual at the engineering firm’s expense.
The Steilacoom Blvd. and Rigney Road safety enhancement project which includes sidewalks, increased lighting, and crosswalk improvements began on November 12th. The project is projected to be completed in late February.
Fall has arrived and I would ask your assistance to help prevent wet-season flooding. Please do not blow your leaves into the street and please remove any leaves that your trees may have dropped into the streets. One leaf is not a problem, however, an abundance of leaves, especially maple leaves, clog the storm drains and when coupled with the rains, causes backups and flooding.
The WiFi pilot program the Town participated in proved to be technically but not economically viable for CenturyTel. I wish to thank all of you who participated and provided feedback during the pilot. CenturyTel will be removing their equipment from Town facilities within the next several weeks.
Please note the Town Holiday schedule for the Dec. 7 Tree Lighting at Town Hall starting at 6:30 PM and December 21 for Elves and Bells Around Town. On behalf of the Council and Town staff, please have a safe holiday season, enjoy your family and friends. On a personal note, please keep the soldiers of our Community Connector unit, the 42nd MP BDE, in your thoughts and prayers as many are deployed this season.
Ron Lucas, Mayor